CLOSE
Michael William Lester
Michael William Lester

Artist's Animations Turn Iconic Buildings Into Characters

Michael William Lester
Michael William Lester

In his latest web project, Character Building, Michael William Lester—an English designer and illustrator whose previous work includes this tiny portfolio—makes international architecture approachable.

“Good architecture interacts with its surroundings," Lester writes on the site. "It gives off energy, sparks interaction and pulls so much life in that the building itself lives and breathes." To illustrate that concept, he chose 20 famous buildings and turned them into animated, anthropomorphic characters.

The animations bring the structures to life. The Petronas Towers (above) located in Kuala Lumur, Malaysia, become fist-bumping frenemies. Architect Michael Graves’ controversial Portland Building transforms into an engrossed reader. The Bitexco Financial Tower in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is given the ability to swat away a pesky helicopter like it’s an annoying fly.

Each animated building on the Character Building site comes with a jaunty description of the “character," as well as a few basic details about the architecture, such as its height, completion date, and function.

“A firm handshake let the Petronas Towers put their differences behind them,” the Malaysian skyscrapers’ entry reads.

Whether you’re an architecture buff or this is your first introduction to these famous skyscrapers, Lester provides a whole new way of looking at the well-known buildings.

And if you do have a special connection to a particular building, you can buy posters of the illustrations for less than $12 each.

All images by Michael William Lester.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
arrow
architecture
5 Scrapped Designs for the World's Most Famous Buildings
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

When an architect gets commissioned to build a skyscraper or a memorial, they’re usually not the only applicant for the job. Other teams of designers submit their own ideas for how it should look, too, but these are eventually passed over in favor of the final design. This is the case for some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks—in an alternate world, the Arc de Triomphe might have been a three-story-tall elephant statue, and the Lincoln Memorial a step pyramid.

GoCompare, a comparison site for financial services, dug into these could-have-been designs for Alternate Architecture, an illustrated collection of scrapped designs for some of the most famous structures in the world, from Chicago's Tribune Tower to the Sydney Opera House.

Click through the interactive graphic below to explore rejected designs for all five landmarks.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Paul Wegener
arrow
Design
For Sale: The Safest House in America, Complete With Hidden Command Center
Paul Wegener
Paul Wegener

For some people, locking the front door just isn't enough to feel fully safe at home. Maybe they set up a home security system. Maybe they go out and buy a fancy smart home hub with a security camera. Or maybe they spend six years and $30 million to build a veritable fortress mansion, as one guy in Atlanta did. That house, called the Rice House and referred to as one of the safest homes in America, is now up for sale for $14.7 million.

Built by an entrepreneur who hired a security architect with a background designing Justice Department buildings (and his own bunker/house), the Rice House is billed as a "modern fortress" in the real estate listing.

For its owner, creating an impenetrable home was more of a personal challenge than a real security need, according to Bloomberg. But by its features, you'd think it was built for a Bond super-villain or a head of state, not a businessman in a wealthy Atlanta neighborhood.

A secure door with several locks
Paul Wegener

It has its own water and power supply, a 5000-square-foot command center hidden behind a waterfall, a vault, and doors capable of withstanding machine gun fire. There’s an indoor gun range, in case you need some target practice. There’s enough room in the garage for 30 cars, in case you have a few dozen Batmobiles—or you want to invite friends to hunker down with you during the apocalypse.

And since anyone who lives there might be more invested in staying safely inside the gates than going out on the weekends, the place has plenty of amenities that make it a standalone mini-community. It’s got its own art gallery, a gym, a bowling alley, a wine cellar, a home theater, and a pool. It has three kitchens and two commercial elevators, with staff quarters so the servants you inevitably need to cater to you never need to leave, either.

But wait, there’s more. If the house lacks something you want, that’s fine! Because according to the listing, “the property purposefully awaits final personalization.” In other words, for your $14.7 million, it’s not finished.

Check it out here.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios